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India beat England to win inaugural Physical Disability World Series

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India defeated a spirited England by 36 runs to lift the inaugural Physical Disability World Series trophy at New Road.

India’s 180 for 7, bolstered by some mesmerising hitting at the back end of the innings, ultimately proved too steep for Iain Nairn’s side, who finished on 144 for 9.

England booked their place in the final after beating Afghanistan by 10 runs in a tense morning semi-final and were well placed at 90 for 1 in the 11th over of the final.

But when Angus Brown, just 17 last month and one of the tournament’s standout performers, was caught in the covers for 44 off Goyat, the pendulum swung India’s way.

The 13th over proved decisive. Callum Flynn, such a lynchpin for England with bat, ball and in the field, was dismissed for 28 off the first delivery of Goyat’s over, leaving the hosts 97 for 3. Two balls later, Liam O’Brien was run out without facing a ball after chancing a single through a misfield to the keeper.

When Liam Thomas and skipper Nairn followed cheaply in the 14th over, England were 105 for 6 with five wickets having fallen in 22 deliveries.

It was the decisive stage of the final after India’s innings had also been a tale of two halves.

England had bowled well to restrict India to 85 for 2 after 13 overs, making a dream start when Ben Tyler had Khan caught behind with the second ball of the innings.

A patient 47-run second-wicket partnership between Phanase (36) and skipper Keni (29) kept India ticking over.

After Keni was caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Fred Bridges, Ravindra Sante (53 from 35) and Phanase took India to 113 before the latter was run out off the final ball of the 15th over.

That brought Suganesh Mahendran to the crease and a seismic shift to the proceedings, whose remarkable 11-ball 33 included four sixes, including one monstrous hit into the top of the New Road stand.

India had more than doubled their total, with 95 coming off the last seven overs.

The result was a target that was always going to require something special against a team that had arrived fresh – and had the advantage of winning the toss, against a team tiring after a stirring 10-wicket victory in the morning over big-hitting Afghanistan. Liam O’Brien’s 34-ball 53 and 45 from Jamie Goodwin helped England post 147 for 7.

In reply, a tight spell from Fred Bridges, whose four overs yielded just 12 and two wickets, applied the squeeze, with regular wickets leaving them with an unlikely 20 required from the final over, from which just 10 came.

As the dust settled on India’s victory, skipper Nairn was philosophical in defeat.

“We’ve given it everything we had,” he said. “We’re a young team, with two teenagers in our 11, and three in the squad. India are adults, they are playing televised cricket over there, some of them – so to come into an environment like this is more normal.

“For our kids, we’re playing club cricket – some of them are playing on village greens on a Saturday. We have some very special human beings in this team.”

Goodwin added: “I don’t think you can fault the cricket that we’ve played all week. We’ve been brilliant in the field – as good as we have ever been. We probably lacked a little bit with the bat, but you can’t fault the effort that everyone has put in.

“We’re a close group of lads and that will get us through the disappointment. We’ve been beaten by a better team on the day – they’ve played five, won five.

“It was an example of power hitting at its best, a great example of what this game can offer. It can only have helped.”



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Marnus Labuschagne, run-scoring and bubble gum

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Marnus Labuschagne is forever blowing bubbles and, over the last few weeks, scoring Test hundreds.

With a skip down the pitch at Mitchell Santner he deposited the ball over long-on, for just the second six of his career, to reach his third century in three innings following his scores of 185 in Brisbane and 162 in Adelaide. The 25-year old is only the third Australian batsman to manage such a feat after Charles Macartney in 1926 and Don Bradman in 1937-38.

“I got within one shot and I wanted to do it because scoring was quite slow so I was waiting for the right ball,” Labuschagne said at the post-day press conference. “I didn’t get all of it but luckily enough for it to go over.”

He is a batsman with a few idiosyncrasies and a close watch will show he is rarely without his chewing gum. It has become an integral part to his batting routine since he started playing for Glamorgan – a time when runs flowed and propelled him into the Ashes squad.

“It started it in the second game of the County Championship last year,” he said. “It was something I used because at times you play so much cricket and you need something to get you going and to get you in the contest. It’s helped me to relax especially when I’m subconsciously blowing bubbles and keeping my mind at rest between balls.”

There were no free runs on offer on the opening day in Perth, so full focus was needed. Without taking anything away from his runs against Pakistan, that was not always the case in the first two Tests of the summer. In this innings his first fifty took 102 balls, with Australia well behind their usual scoring rate, before moving to three figures off a further 64 deliveries. It was the innings of a player who can be at No. 3 for a long time to come.

“You never want to take any runs for Australia for granted,” he said. “Cricket can be a tough game so you have to cash in when you’re doing well. No hundred comes easy, but today there were patches where scoring really dried up completely and you just had to trust you would come out the other side

Before the Test, Tim Paine revealed there had been conversations about moving Labuschagne down the order to No. 5 to allow him to settle into Test cricket after being thrust back into the team during the Ashes.

“He didn’t want a bar of it,” Paine said. “He wanted to go out at three. He wants to be a star Test match international cricketer. He sees himself as a No.3. He wants that challenge. He’d be hard to move out of there now, that’s for sure.”

Labuschagne recalled a slightly different tale from the Brisbane Test when, with David Warner and Joe Burns having added a double-century stand, Justin Langer suggested – perhaps in jest – that he may want to slip down the order having spent so long waiting with his pads on.

“Justin asked me at the ‘Gabba, because we waited so long to bat and you burn a lot of mental energy. He said do you want to go down? I kind of laughed as in ‘you’re kidding, aren’t you?’ I still don’t know if he was serious, but I thought there’s no chance I’m letting [Steven] Smithy bat in front of me. I enjoy getting out there; sitting and watching can be draining.”

Batting is coming easily for Labuschagne at the moment, but he believes being in good form brings a need to be even more careful. “It’s just about riding the wave, not trying to get too high when you are going well. Keeping a clear mind on the field then you just play the ball as it comes. People say you nick balls more when you are in form because you a seeing it so well so it’s about keeping a high price on decision making.”

At the moment, he’s making a lot of good decisions. He’ll hope the run-scoring bubble doesn’t burst anytime soon.



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Aneurin Donald ruled out for majority of 2020 season after ACL injury

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Aneurin Donald is set to miss the whole of the 2020 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Donald, the 22-year-old batsman, joined Hampshire from Glamorgan towards the end of the 2018 domestic season, and impressed in his first full season at the club, hitting a 144-ball 173 against Warwickshire in the Championship and regularly scoring quickly at the start of a T20 innings.

But after suffering the injury to his ACL last week, Donald underwent an operation this week, and Hampshire physio James Clegg confirmed that his is expected to miss most of the upcoming domestic season.

“Thanks to all the doctors/nurses/surgeons who have looked after me the past week or so,” Donald posted on Instagram. “Long road back to recovery starts now.. Appreciate all the love and support I’ve received to date. Will be back stronger.”

The news represents a major blow to Donald, whose move to the Ageas Bowl came about in part due to his hopes of an England call-up.

He first announced himself as a 19-year-old in the Glamorgan side when he spanked 234 off just 136 balls, equalling the record for the fastest double-century in first-class cricket, in a remarkable maiden Championship ton at Colwyn Bay. He hit Derbyshire’s attack for 15 sixes, and made headlines as a future star.

There were flashes of brilliance in his fledgling white-ball career, including a 40-ball 76 at The Oval in 2017, but he failed to make a half-century in 2018, and finished last season with a disappointment when he found no takers in the inaugural draft for the Hundred.



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CSA sponsor issues ultimatum for contract renewal

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Pressure is mounting on CSA’s board, specifically president Chris Nenzani and vice-president Beresford Williams, after financial services company Momentum, which sponsors CSA, issued an ultimatum over its tenure. In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Momentum asked for the CSA board or Nenzani and Williams to step down as one of six conditions that must be met if it is to renew its contract with CSA when it ends on April 30, 2020.

More to follow…



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